For many people, Christmas is a time to relax, spend quality time with friends and family and eat more than our fair share of delicious food. However, some people find it more difficult than others to “get into the Christmas spirit”.
Christmas can be a very stressful time for certain people and in many parts of the world we are expected to love and embrace Christmas or risk being labelled as a grinch. This label can be seen as unhelpful as it trivialises legitimate reasons people have for finding it difficult to be merry over the Christmas season. We rarely speak about the fact that while Christmas perpetuates an obligation to celebrate, you need not feel guilty if you are not in the mood to celebrate.
Why do some people not like Christmas ?
- Some people do not like obligatory gatherings.
- Sometimes people do not get along with other members of the family.
- Sometimes people are stretched thin over Christmas with long travel times on the day to see different parts of the family.
- Retail workers experience the worst of people.
- The pressure of buying people gifts can sometimes be a lot, particularly for people who are trying to be careful with their spending or do not have enough money to spare as it is.
- Some people do not have enough time for Christmas and would rather spend it doing something that they see as more productive rather than catching up with family/friends.
How to be Merry ?
Be strategic – Perhaps you are not really feeling like spending the entire evening at a work drinks party however don’t want to be candid about it, make up an excuse so that you can only stick around for the pre-dinner drinks or not show up at all. You do not need to over explain yourself in these situations or even explain what your other commitment is. You do not need to say yes to every Christmas party or gathering, you only have to do what you are comfortable with.
Be kind to yourself – Depending on what your commitments look like over Christmas, it is important to be kind to yourself as the holiday season can be particularly draining. Make sure to schedule activities for yourself that are meaningful and restorative. Scheduling activities such as exercise and creative hobbies can help to reduce stress. Furthermore, keeping in mind that the Christmas season will pass, finding time to engage in these personal activities can help you to reconnect with what is important to you. You may also find that you are more able to cope with the demands of Christmas if being kind to yourself becomes a priority.
Set realistic expectations – We often have an ideal vision in our minds of what the perfect Christmas looks like and this can create a lot of stress in the lead up to Christmas or even afterwards if it didn’t live up to our expectations. This Christmas season, try to focus on what you can realistically do with the time, energy and money that is available to you.
Throughout December we will be exploring the topic ‘Wrapping Up The Year’. We will look at shining a light on mental health, and how you can survive and thrive through the holiday blues. We then look to the new year with the psychology behind how to set new year’s resolutions that last.